It is known that new technologies are capable of changing our society and style of life. However, those changes happen way faster, nowadays! The world has shifted considerately in the last twenty years or so, after witnessing the creation of extremely useful tools – such as smartphones or streaming services – and the improvement of some other sorts of technologies that existed prior, such as the Internet. Thankfully, education in general has taken advantage of those developments, and today, I’m here to show you how.
Using Technology in Our Favour
So, if the technology itself has the power of changing society in a matter of a dozen years or so, it is expected for it to be able to change the process of education, as well. Physical encyclopedias are falling out of favour, allowing online search engines, such as Google, to emerge. Information itself is way more accessible now: one or two touches away, literally! Self-education has never been this easy.
Even the most conservative schools of a developed country can’t fully resist technology and its constant evolution. Blackboards are being replaced by dry-erase boards and even those are already being changed by interactive digital boards. The creation of e-mails and softwares such as Skype or Zoom have also facilitated communication between students and teachers, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak, which forced schools all over the world to proceed with the academic year, virtually. Needless to say, that would be completely impossible twenty years ago.
As you can see, technology has changed education in a way that it is now possible to study in almost every circumstance:
- You can’t deliver your essay, personally? E-mail it to your professor!
- You can’t attend classes tomorrow? Send him a message, via WhatsApp, explaining the situation!
- Are you in the middle of a pandemic that pretty much completely changed our routines? Join the class on Zoom and listen to your professor’s lecture, live and online!
Plus, you can communicate with your colleagues without the need for physical interaction. Of course, it is preferable to work with them personally, sometimes. Unfortunately, it just isn’t always possible. One of your colleagues from your group project may be out of town, forcing the group to work online.
Is Technology Erasing Traditional Ways of Education?
Now, is technology erasing traditional ways of education? Yes, but also no. It’s more accurate if we say that technology improves certain ways of educating and creates methods that complete the ones that existed prior. It is way easier to learn how to play a musical instrument if you pay someone to teach you personally, but there are millions of YouTube videos that complement what your teacher has taught you. Is it possible to learn to play the instrument with YouTube videos alone? Yes, but it is slower because you don’t have someone there, physically, that can point out exactly what you’re doing wrong and what to do to correct it. The best way for you to be educated about something that requires actual practice is to learn in person and complement what you’ve learnt with the help of the Internet. Which means: technology can make it easier for you to learn about all sorts of subjects, but it must not replace traditional methods in their entirety, just develop them.
Encyclopedias never really disappeared, it is just a lot more practical to have them online, where they can be updated in real-time. On the other hand, physical encyclopedias can only be updated from time to time, releasing a new edition regularly, while many people continue to have outdated information on their desks. Of course, there are also downsides to this: if the information is more accessible now, and a wide percentage of the global population has access to the Internet, then it is also easier to be misled and to fall into fake information, unsettling then the process of self-education. In that case, it is necessary to be more careful and to develop strategies that allow you to filter what’s fake and what’s trust-worthy.
Technology changes our style of life, including education. We are virtually closer than ever, even if that isn’t, physically, the case. Access to information has never been this high and self-education hasn’t been as easy as it is now. Despite that, some traditional ways of education never left. Instead, they were updated by technology and complemented by other secondary methods. Schools are ready to continue their academic year, even during a pandemic, because of technology. Of course, there are downsides, but the solution for a problem creates, inevitably, another problem. We just have to adapt to these problems to overcome them and to be ready to repeat the process.